Flexible working

If you're struggling to juggle your work and childcare commitments then flexible working may be the solution to your problem.

Who can apply?

All employees who have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks or more have a legal right to request flexible working. However, you can only apply once a year so you should think carefully about which hours would suit you best.

Your employer must consider your request and provide a valid business reason if it is rejected.

What options are available?

Job sharing: A job is split between two people. Income, benefits and pension rights are also divided.

Working from home: You swap the office desk to work at home, all or some days of the week, going in for meetings and catch-ups.

Part time: Anything less than the regular number of hours worked in a week, but you must not be treated any differently just because you work fewer hours.

Compressed hours: You work more hours, fewer days of the week (for instance four ten hour days, four days a week, with Fridays off).

Flexitime: You agree to work certain hours, known as core time (for instance, 10am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4pm). But outside these hours, you can dip in and out as you please, clocking up a fixed amount of time and taking banked hours as flexi-leave.

Annualised hours: You have to work a certain number of hours over the year but you have some flexibility about when you can work them.

Staggered hours: Instead of 9am to 5pm, what about 7am to 3pm, or 11am to 7pm? But if you work six hours or more you must take a break of at least 20 minutes.

Phased retirement: The default retirement age has been phased out and workers can now usually work for as long as they want to. Your employer may be happy for you to phase your retirement by allowing you to change to flexible or part time hours.

How can I apply?

The Gov.uk website has step by step guidance on how to apply and detailed information on your statutory rights.

Further reading

Working Families is an organisation that helps children, working parents and carers and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and work. Their website contains useful advice on how and when to apply for flexible working and what to consider before applying.

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